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The UK's Unusual Road Awards

5 minutes

Some may sneer at the UK's winding country roads, its endless roundabouts and baffling road signs – but not us. It’s time for the UK’s Unusual Road Awards.

  • A junction in Yorkshire lit up by traffic lights
  • A narrow Highlands pass you may have seen on TV...
  • A coastal causeway where you have to watch the tides

Check out our awards for the UK's weird and wonderful roads 

Far from just a means of getting from A to B, the UK's highways are hugely varied, exciting and often challenging. What they lack in logic and practicality, they more than make up for in charm and personality.

Celebrate the eccentricities of the nation's highways and scroll through our gallery of the UK's most unusual roads. From exclusive roads you need a permit to drive down and magical roundabouts to haunted highways, we've got it all. 



Where the road keeps an eye on you

The A9 from Dunblane to Inverness is Europe's longest stretch of road monitored by average speed cameras. There are 100 spread across 27 locations along the 140-mile long road, policing a speed limit of 60mph.

According to Police Scotland, there's been a substantial reduction in road accidents since the cameras were installed. 


 

By invitation only

Not on the list? Then this ain't the road for you. UK drivers may be used to jumping into their cars and going wherever they like, but if they were to arrive at the entrance to College Valley in Northumberland, 20 miles south west of Berwick-upon-Tweed, they'd be disappointed.

Only 12 cars are allowed to travel along this one-lane road per day due to the cost of maintaining the estate's roads and, before they can do that, each driver must purchase a permit from a local estate agent.



The art of the pothole

We spend a lot of our time on the road avoiding pothole damage, and the villages of Herongate and Stock in Essex have such bad potholes that Ford couldn't even invent somewhere better to assess its new cars. So the American car manufacturer has replicated them at its testing facility in Lommel, Belgium – kind of like an assault course for tyres. 
 
According to research by LV= Britannia Rescue, potholes have damaged the cars of one in seven drivers. If you do find yourself driving near Herongate or Stock any time soon, it might be worth updating your car insurance with breakdown cover.


 

When good traffic lights go bad

The Grovehill junction in Beverley, East Yorkshire boasts 42 traffic lights. They control 20 different traffic movements and nine crossing points on the former roundabout. But it seems the impressively complicated system might not be totally necessary: on one occasion all the lights failed but, according to drivers, the traffic flowed better as a result!



As seen on TV

The ancient pass of Bealach na Bà in the Scottish Highlands is a narrow, single-track road that twists and turns through the mountains of the Applecross Peninsular like an Alpine road. You'll have to stick to the 30 miles-per-hour speed limit, but with scenery like this, you'll want the time to soak it all up. It's no surprise that the road is a favourite of TV’s Top Gear.



The roundabout to rule them all

 First things first: as well as a Pylon Appreciation Society and a British Water Tower Appreciation Society, there is a Roundabout Appreciation Society

Secondly, The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, comprised of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle, creating a single giant one, was given full marks for 'originality and pure magic' by the society.



Ghost of cars passed

According to a survey of UK motorists by Tarmac, the construction solutions company, the M6 is not only England's longest motorway, it is also its most haunted.

Drivers claim to have seen Roman centurions and even a phantom lorry driving the wrong way on it. However, Autocar magazine says the scariest thing it's seen on the M6 is the price of a ham sandwich.



In deep water

The causeway road leading from the mainland to Holy Island off the Northumberland coast is flooded twice a day by the North Sea tide. Drivers must make sure that they pay heed to the council's well-publicised crossing times, or they could get caught.

And in 2016, a party of Swiss tourists had to be rescued by the coastguard after their car was submerged – let's hope they had the right car insurance!



You take the high road…

Altitude sickness and not carsickness will be your major concern as you drive along the A93 Cairnwell Pass between Glen Shee and Braemar in the Scottish Highlands.

At one point it rises to 2200 feet above sea level, making it the UK's highest road. Unsurprisingly, the A93 is regularly blocked by snow.